Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day Two--Srila Rupa and Srila Jiva Goswamis

Yesterday we started our parikrama, or walking tour, of Vrndavana at Radha Damodara Mandir. Not only does this temple house the wonderful Deities of Sri Sri Radha Damodara, it's also the final samadhi resting place of many exalted Vaishnavas. Both Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Jiva are buried in samadhi here on the grounds. They were both great Vaishnavas and founders of our lineage. Here's a little bit about each of them.

-o(-)o- Srila Rupa Goswami -o(-)o-

Even though there are so many great acaryas, Srila Rupa Gosvami has been attributed with the honor of being that person who has established the mano-‘bhistam, the innermost heart’s desire, of Sri Krsna in the form of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told him:

"The ocean of the transcendental mellows of devotional service is so large that no one can estimate its length and breadth. However, just to help you taste it, I am describing one drop. --Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 19.137

Lord Caitanya gave one drop of the ocean of rasa to Srila Rupa Gosvami, and that one drop was sufficient to inundate millions upon millions of universes. After some time Srila Rupa Gosvami went to Vrndavana and began to perform his bhajana, their hearing, chanting, and remembering Krsna.

Rupa Goswami wrote:
"The beauty and splendor of Sri Krsna's lotus feet has eclipsed many billions of cupids. The artistic dancing of His sidelong glances has charmed the gopis' hearts. His form is like a glittering new rain-cloud. He is an ocean of great transcendental pastimes. He is the supreme good fortune of all beautiful young girls in the three worlds. I pray that this Sri Krsna becomes the cause of the great happiness in Your heart." --Sri Ujjvala-Nilamani, by Srila Rupa Goswami

-o(-)o- Srila Jiva Goswami -o(-)o-

Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu (1511-1596) was the nephew of Srila Rupa Goswami, the son of his brother Sri Vallabha (Anupama). In his infancy he had the great fortune of seeing Sri Caitanya and Mahaprabhu placed His lotus feet upon the child's head exclaiming that the boy would grow up to be a great preceptor in the Gaudiya sampradaya.

In his studies the young Jiva excelled in all subjects, especially Sanskrit grammar, poetry and rhetoric. Sri Jiva went on to Varanasi to study and then set out for Vrndavana to join his uncles Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana. He followed in their footsteps and became a very prolific writer.

Here are some verses from his explanation of the MahaMantra:

By His uncommon beauty, Sri Krsna Candra
takes away the mind of everyone.
However, when Sri Radha expands Her own
cleverness, She also captures Sri
Krsna's mind. Therefore She is called "Hara"

By His loveliness and by the sweet sound of
His flute, Sri Krsna, who is
decorated with the most captivating qualities,
attracts Radha. Therefore He
is called "Krsna."

It has been heard from the mouths of great
souls that Lord Hari led away
the fawn-eyed Radha from the Rasa dance to a
secluded bower. Therefore Radha
is called "Hara."

As He sports with Radha, His blackish
effulgence causes shiny gold to
also appear blackish. Therefore He is called

for the full text

Day One--Sri Sri Radha Damodara Mandir

Radha Damodara Mandir
#4 on our map of Vrndavana
For more information go to:

jaya radha-damodara radha-damodara radhe
(jiv goswamir prana-dhana he)

All glories to Radha and Damodara, the treasure of Jiva Gosvami's heart!

We're starting our tour of Vrndavan here at Radha Damodara Mandir, or temple, because this is where it all started for the Western devotees of Lord Krsna. It was here that our guru, Srila Prabhupada, lived before he ventured out of India to the West. This is also purported to be the first temple in Vrndavana, the home of Lord Krishna! Following this is more information about the temple.

Have a wonderful day meditating on the glories of the Lord during this auspicious month. Jaya Radha Damodar!

--Your friends in Bhaktiville


Presiding Deities are Sri Radha Damodar. In 1516, a year after Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited Vrndavana-dhama, Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatana Goswami arrived there upon the order of the Lord to uncover the various lila-sthanas (pastime places) of Sri Krsna. They frequently traversed the entire land of Vraja and lived austerely, immersed in loving sentiments for the Divine Couple.

During this time there was not a Temple in Vrndavana, only dense forests, so the Goswamis would live under the trees, under a thorn bush or in a vacant crocodile-hole. They remained for short periods to perform bhajana in Ter Kadamba, Varsana, Radha-kunda and the Radha Damodar temple area.

Some years later, they were joined by their young nephew Sri Jiva, who took diksa from Srila Rupa Goswami and performed service at his lotus feet.

According to Sri Radha-Krsna Goswami’s Sadhana-dipika, Sri Rupa was expert in drawing and preparing Deities. So it was that in 1542 he obtained a piece of black marble from the Vindya Mountains and in the sacred month of Damodar (Karttika), he personally carved, installed and offered a Deity of Lord Damodar to his intimate disciple Srila Jiva Goswami.

Srila Jiva Goswami officially purchased land at Seva-kunja for thirty rupees in order to worship his beloved Lord. After the disappearance of Rupa and Sanatana, Jiva Goswami became the head of the Gaudiya sampradaya and the Radha Damodar Temple became famous as a seat of learning due to its vast library of rare books and manuscripts of the Goswamis.

Some devotees are under the impression that the Deities of Radhadamodar in the Radhadamodar Temple in Vrndavan are not the original Deities of Srila Jiva Goswami. Some think that the original Deities now reside in Jaipur. However, this is not a fact.

In 1670, when the Muslim fanatic Aurangazeb invaded Sri Vrndavana, he planned to destroy many temples and deface the Deities there. For this reason the principle Deities of Vraja were moved to the safe confines of the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan under the auspices of the Rajput kings. Most of the Deities remained there, such as Govindadeva, Gopinatha and Madana-mohana.

Radha Damodar Temple The Radhadamodar Deities however returned to Vrndavana and have been worshipped there ever since. The Deities that replaced the originals in the temples of Govinda, Gopinatha and Madana-mohana are known as pratibhu-murtis which were installed and worshipped as substitute Deities by the Goswamis of those temples. All pratibhu-murtis are smaller in size than the original Deities installed by the acaryas, but it is worth noting that the Deity of Damodarji in Jaipur is smaller than the Deity in Vrndavana, thus further confirming that the original Deity of Sri Damodarji is in Vrndavana, whereas the pratibhu-murti is being worshipped in Jaipur today.

Before Sri Jiva’s disappearance in 1596, he left his Deities and library in the care of his successor Sri Krishna Dasa, the head pujari. The present sevaites are directly coming in line from his descendants.

Bhaktiville--Parikrama Schedule and Maps

Here is our calendar along with maps of Vrndavana and the larger area, Sri Vraja Mandala.


Bhaktiville--Kartik and Parikrama

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything for a while. Life is happening and it's not always easy to keep up with what I'd like to write.

Kartik has come and we're also celebrating it in Bhaktiville, in SecondLife. My daughter suggested that I post every day what we're doing so that others, who aren't a part of SecondLife, could also share in it. This is very exciting for me as it's redefining our ideas and concepts of our newly emerging global e-Vaishnava community. (Wow, what a sentence!)

So, we've posted a map of Vrndavana and the larger Gokul area, a calendar of our parikrama, videos playing Damodarastakam, words and translation to the song, and an informational note about Kartik. Each day a different little temple on the grounds has a box placed in it with 4 pictures of that day's destination along with a notecard regarding that place, a reference to that place on our map, and a link for further reading.

What I will post here is what we're reading in Bhaktiville. I hope you enjoy them and, if you're not in Vrndavana, that your armchair parikrama is enlightening.

Jaya Srimati Radharani, Kartik Devi Herself!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev Goswami Maharaj Leaves Us

I've just learned about the passing Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev Goswami. I had the opportunity to have his association in Santa Cruz, CA, US, many times and found him to be very sweet and kind. I will truly miss him. The following is an article from Vina.

gurvabhista-supurakam guru-ganair asisa-sambhusitam
chintyachintya-samasta-veda-nipunam sri-rupa-panthanugam
govindabhidham ujjvalam vara-tanum bhakty anvitam sundaram
vande visva-gurun cha divya-bhagavat-premno hi bija-pradam

"I worship the holy lotus feet of he who perfectly fulfills the most cherished wish of his divine master -- who is adorned resplendently with the blessings of his guru varga; who is adept in all Vedic conceptions, both conceivable and inconceivable; who is the faithful follower in the line of Sri Rupa; who is known as Srila Govinda Maharaj; whose beautiful divine figure revels in the mellows of divine love; who is the guru of the entire universe and the bestower of the seed of divine love for the Supreme Lord."

At about 4:30am, 27 March 2010, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj passed away from our vision by his own sweet will and surrounded by sannyasis and servitors chanting softly. His holy form was presently taken with a convoy of vehicles from our Dum Dum Park Temple, Kolkata, to Nabadwip where this afternoon he will be given samadhi close to the Samadhi Mandir of his beloved Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj.

2pm Nabadwip: Srila Gurudev's holy body was brought before the Deities here at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. Accompanied by continuous kirttan, devotees garlanded His Divine Grace and offered flowers and prayers. Bathing took place just now on the plinth of the 'Temple of Union in Separation' where chanting continues.

Live online BlogTV broadcasts are taking place throughout the afternoon:
TVDarshan broadcast by Anukrishna Devi dasi of Russia
and vaisnavadarshan_tv broadcast by Nimai Chandra Prabhu.
Written by Arun Kumar das
Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gaura Purnima in Second Life!

Don’t have plans for Gaura Purnima, don’t live near a Temple, or just curious? Come visit Bhaktiville in Second Life and celebrate the opening of the new Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple. Second Life is an online, virtual reality community where many devotees have temples. (To find out more about Second Life: We’re at Archers 186, 229, 33, or search in Events for Krishna. Come visit Bhaktiville and join the celebration!

Our schedule for Gaura Purnima is as follows (all times are Pacific Standard Time):

• 10 am: Fireworks and official opening ceremonies, Arati and Deity Flower Shower
• 11 am: Fireworks and lecture and greetings from Bhaktiville’s residents: Bhakti Thor, Bhakti Mimulus, and Dasi Lane

• 12 am: Fireworks and Virtual Prasadam at the Greenhouse Cafe, followed by tour of the grounds.

Program will be repeated again at 3 pm

• 3 pm: Fireworks and opening ceremonies, Arati and Deity Flower Shower
• 4 pm: Fireworks and lecture and greetings from Bhaktiville’s residents: Bhakti Thor, Bhakti Mimulus, and Dasi Lane

• 5 pm: Fireworks and Virtual Prasadam at the Greenhouse Café, followed by tour of the grounds.

Bhaktiville is always open and we have created it for the pleasure of the devotees. We have many things for your spiritual enjoyment.

1. Sri Sri Radha Krsna are available for darshan any time of the day or night.

2. Offer your obeisances or a flower to the Deities.

3. Sit in the temple or Prabhupada’s garden and chant japa.

4. Find the hidden grotto for meditation.

5. Sit by the ocean and read Srila Prabhupada’s books.

6. Sit on the pier by the ocean and watch videos or pick up some free gifts from the vendor.

7. Go to the Greenhouse Café—a relaxing atmosphere where virtual prasadam is served daily. Check out the cookbook for vegetarian recipes.
8. We have many animals in Bhaktiville—sheep, birds, our cows wander and float around, and our cat Kesava is very friendly.

Look forward to seeing you there! Contact me for more information. Hare Krishna!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

What I've Been Doing

A devotee from South Africa commented on my blog and prompted me to write about what I've been doing recently, since I haven't posted anything in a while. I've written before about Second Life, the virtual reality community, and how much I really like it. I decided that I wanted to build a temple and started looking around for land. I ran into a person who had a wonderful deity of Krsna and so I wrote to him. He invited me to
build on his land and so we--Bhakta Thor, Bhakti Mimulus, and myself--have been working together for the past couple of months on Bhaktiville. Bhakti Mimulus does landscaping, Bhakta Thor decorating and landscaping, and me, I just fill in. But, boy, what fun!

A little background. Second Life is one of many virtual reality communities on the Internet. You create a person to represent you, an avatar, and you interact with the environment and people around you. People come for interactive war games, to build, to meet other people--whatever their reason might be--but, they're all there doing what they like to do together. I really like computers and I really like Krsna--seems like a good match for me.

So, here's what we've been doing. Our landing spot and welcoming area is on a pier. We have streaming video from YouTube of Srila Prabhupada and other great videos. On our music channel we have Srila Prabhupada chanting japa. We also have a vendor where people can get books, gestures (offering obeisances), and other devotee items. At the end of the pier there's swimming and underwater animals.

On the land, we have the Greenhouse Cafe where vegetarian food is served. With a nice atmosphere and streaming music, it's a nice place to hang out. We're also adding a cookbook with vegetarian recipes people can take with them. Up the hill from the Cafe is the barn with a few of our cows! To the left of the Cafe is the path leading up to the temple.

Just outside the temple we have a little table with some of Srila Prab
hupada's books and more cows.

Then there are the Deities, the reason for our project. Many things in Second Life are flat and are put together to represent a 3-D object. The trees may have a round trunk, but the leaves are a series of flat pictures laced together. Many temples in Second Life have "flat" pictures of Deities on their altars. The Deities here are different, They are not flat. They were sculpted by a wonderful artist and are dressable. We have found some wonderful clothes for Them along with jewelry and other accessories. We have a ghee lamp and bell and are looking into creating gestures so that we can offer flowers and artika to Them. Outside the temple we have Tulasi growing strong and wild.

I spent some time creating the temple itself. I added elements of my favorite temples. The tall spires of the Jagannatha Temple, the massiveness of the columns of the Govindadev Temple in Vrndavana, and the wonderful flags on the altar of Govindadevji in Jaipur. I'm already thinking about the next temple I want to build.

Much of my free time is spent working on Bhaktiville and we have many things we still want to add. I can only hope that it is pleasing to the devotees. We are planning an opening day on Gaura Purnima, February 28th. Please stop by if you're around, here's the SLURL. We'll have activities going all day long, more details on that later. Hoping this finds you all well and that your love for the Lord increases every minute of every day. Jaya Prabhupada!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hello there

Radhe Radhe!

It's been a while since I posted anything. Since I've moved to the East Coast, fall really seems to affect me and I've become more reclusive and more introspective this year than most.

I also haven't written because I don't seem to have a voice right now. I'm in a quandary and haven't resolved it. Living and working among people I don't identify with has always been a problem, but at least in California there was some understanding and support. Here, there really isn't. I feel very alone. My days are filled with nothing. The image of being in a boat floating in the mist describes it.

Jagat posted these the other day:

Like a mirror, a person takes on the qualities of those with whom he comes in contact. One who is intelligent should therefore seek the company of those who have the same ideals in order to develop their good qualities in himself. (HBS 8.51, BRS 1.2.229).
One may possess high birth and learning; and he may meditate on his mantra and perform austerities. Nevertheless, if he is devoid of devotion to the Lord, these things are as useless as beautiful decorations on a dead body. (HBS 3.11, CC 2.19.75)
When will that day be mine?
With no offenses, and the taste increasing,

When will Your mercy shine in my heart?

When will that day be mine?
-Bhaktivinode Thakur



Thursday, September 10, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jaya Radhe Shyama!

Still can't find my camera so I took these with my computer. They're a little fuzzy, but you get the idea. Janmashtami ki jaya. Jaya Srila Prabhupada. Jaya Radhe Radhe Shyaaaaaaam!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Women's Eyes

Found some copied poetry in an old journal.
They're from
Women's Eyes
--Being verses translated from the Sanskrit
by Arthur William Ryder, 1910.
(You can read a copy of the original book here.)
They were originally written
by Bhartrihari, 5th century, in Ujjain.
He is known as a philosopher, poet, and king.
He suffered from an unfaithful wife
and so his poetry shows some disdain for women;
but, he really writes about love . . .
and other things in life.
I'm sure that Ryder takes some liberties,
especially to make the rhymes, but they're still nice.
These are some of my favorites.

p. 6
A diamond you may draw from an alligator's jaw;
You may cross the raging ocean like a pool;
A cobra you may wear like a blossom in your hair;
But you never can convince a stubborn fool.

p. 86
The wise misogynist, poor soul,
To self-deceit is given;
For heaven rewards his self-control,
And women swarm in heaven.

p. 11
When I knew a little bit,
Then my silly, blinded wit,
Mad as elephants in rut,
Thought it was omniscient; but,
When I learned a little more
From the scholar's hoarded store,
Madness' fever soon grew cool,
And I knew I was a fool.

p. 78
The classic poets make a great mistake;
Forever of the weaker sex they speak;
When gods are subjugated for the sake
Of starry glances, are the women weak?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Here in the US it's Memorial Day, a day to remember the fallen heroes of wars past. My family has certainly paid it's debt to the country through military service. As the daughter, sister, and niece of decorated heroes, it is a difficult duty for me to embrace. Their service changed them in so many ways and often left them unable to live lives of happiness, always haunted by death and tragedy. The fallout of these tragedies has affected us all. My daughter asked me the other day how I could be a devotee and oppose war, since Lord Krsna's instruction to Sri Arjuna was to fight. I told her that I would not engage in war, even if Krsna asked me. She was skeptical.

So, on Memorial Day, I remember my heroes--my father, brother, and uncles--and their wives and families. I also remember the heroes of the Mahabharata and their wives and families. It is a powerful duty, a courageous service. It is lamentable that it has to exist.

Here is an excert from Mahabharata, Stri Parva, where Gandhari laments the loss of her sons.
[Book 11: Stri Parva: Stri-vilapa-parva: Section 16

It's a very dense text, so I've separated each sentence for easier reading. It's very sobering.


Vaishampayana said, "Having said these words, Gandhari, though staying on that spot which was distant from the field of battle, beheld, with her spiritual eye, the slaughter of the Kurus.

Devoted to her lord, that highly blessed lady had always practiced high vows.

Undergoing the severest penances, she was always truthful in her speech.

In consequence of the gift of the boon by the great rishi Vyasa of sanctified deeds, she became possessed of spiritual knowledge and power.

Piteous were the lamentations in which that dame then indulged.

Endued with great intelligence, the Kuru dame saw, from a distance, but as if from a near point, that field of battle, terrible to behold and full of wonderful sights, of those foremost of fighters.

Scattered all over with bones and hair, and covered with streams of blood, that field was strewn with thousands upon thousands of dead bodies on every side.

Covered with the blood of elephants and horses and car-warriors and combatants of other kinds, it teemed with headless trunks and trunkless heads.

And it resounded with the cries of elephants and steeds and men and women and abounded with jackals and cranes and ravens and kankas and crows.

And it was the sporting ground of rakshasas subsisting on human flesh.

And it swarmed with ospreys and vultures and resounded with the inauspicious howls of jackals.

Then king Dhritarashtra, at the command of Vyasa, and all the sons of Pandu with Yudhishthira at their head, with Vasudeva and all the Kuru ladies, proceeded to the field of battle.

Those ladies, bereaved of their lords, having reached Kurukshetra, beheld their slain brothers and sons and sires and husbands lying on the ground, and in course of being devoured by beasts of prey and wolves and ravens and crows and ghosts and pishacas and rakshasas and diverse other wanderers of the night.

Beholding that carnage which resembled the sights seen on the sporting ground of Rudra, the ladies uttered loud shrieks and quickly alighted from their costly vehicles.

Witnessing sights the like of which they had never before witnessed, the Bharata ladies felt their limbs to be deprived of strength and fell down on the ground.

Others became so stupefied that they lost all their senses.

Indeed, the Pancala and the Kuru ladies were plunged into unutterable distress.

Beholding that dreadful field of battle resounding on every direction with the cries of those grief-stricken ladies, the daughter of Subala, acquainted with every duty, addressed the lotus-eyed Keshava, that foremost of all men.

Witnessing that universal slaughter of the Kurus and filled with grief at the sight, she said these words: ‘Behold, O lotus-eyed Madhava, these daughters-in-law of mine!

Deprived of their lords, they are uttering, with disheveled hair, piteous cries of woe like a flight of she-ospreys.

Meeting with those dead bodies, they are calling back to their memories the great Bharata chiefs.

They are running hither and thither in large bands towards their sons and brothers and sires and husbands.

Behold, O mighty-armed one, the field is covered with mothers of heroes, all of whom, however, have been bereaved of children.

There, those portions again are covered with spouses of heroes, who have, however, been bereaved of their spouses!

Behold, the field of battle is adorned with those tigers among men, Bhishma and Karna and Abhimanyu and Drona and Drupada and Shalya, as if with blazing fires.

Behold, it is adorned also with the golden coats of mail, and with the costly gems, of high-souled warriors, and with their angadas, and keyuras and garlands.

Behold, it is strewn with darts and spiked clubs hurled by heroic hands, and swords and diverse kinds of keen shafts and bows.

Beasts of prey, assembled together, are standing or sporting or lying down as it likes them! Behold, O puissant hero, the field of battle is even such.

At this sight, O Janardana, I am burning with grief.

In the destruction of the Pancalas and the Kurus, O slayer of Madhu, I think, the five elements (of which everything is made) have been destroyed.

Fierce vultures and other birds, in thousands, are dragging those blood-dyed bodies, and seizing them by their armor, are devouring them.

Who is there that could think of the death of such heroes as Jayadratha and Karna and Drona and Bhishma and Abhimanyu?

Alas, though incapable of being slain, they have yet been slain, O destroyer of Madhu!

Behold, vultures and kankas and ravens and hawks and dogs and jackals are feasting upon them.

There, those tigers among men, that fought on Duryodhana’s side, and took the field in wrath, are now lying like extinguished fires.

All of them are worthy of sleeping on soft and clean beds.

But, alas, plunged into distress, they are sleeping today on the bare ground.

Bards reciting their praises used to delight them before at proper times.

They are now listening to the fierce and inauspicious cries of jackals.

Those illustrious heroes who used formerly to sleep on costly beds with their limbs smeared with sandal paste and powdered aloe, alas, now sleep on the dust!

These vultures and wolves and ravens have now become their ornaments.

Repeatedly uttering inauspicious and fierce cries those creatures are now dragging their bodies.

Delighting in battle, those heroes, looking cheerful, have still beside them their keen shafts, well-tempered swords, and bright maces, as if life has not yet departed from them.

Many foremost of heroes, possessed of beauty and fair complexions and adorned with garlands of gold, are sleeping on the ground.

Behold, beasts of prey are dragging and tearing them.

Others, with massive arms, are sleeping with maces in their embrace, as if those were beloved wives.

Others, still cased in amour, are holding in their hands their bright weapons.

Beasts of prey are not mangling them, O Janardana, regarding them to be still alive.

The beautiful garlands of pure gold on the necks of other illustrious heroes, as the latter are being dragged by carnivorous creatures, are scattered about on every side.

There, those fierce wolves, numbering in thousands, are dragging the golden chains round the necks of many illustrious heroes stilled by death.

Many, whom bards well-trained to their work formerly used, with their hymns and eulogies of grave import, to delight every morning, are now surrounded by fair ladies stricken with grief and weeping and crying around them in woe, O tiger of Vrishni’s race!

The faces of those beautiful ladies, O Keshava, though pale, look resplendent still, like an assemblage of red lotuses!

Those Kuru ladies have ceased to weep, with their respective followers and companions.

They are all filled with anxiety.

Overwhelmed with sorrow, they are running hither and thither.

The faces of those fair ones have, with weeping and anger, become resplendent as the morning sun or gold or burnished copper.

Hearing each other’s lamentations of incomplete sense, those ladies, in consequence of the loud wails of woe bursting from every side, are unable to catch each other’s meaning.

Some amongst them, drawing long sighs and indulging in repeated lamentations, are stupefied by grief and are abandoning their life-breaths.

Many of them, beholding the bodies (of their sons, husbands, or sires), are weeping and setting up loud wails.

Others are striking their heads with their own soft hands.

The earth, strewn with severed heads and hands and other limbs mingled together and gathered in large heaps, looks resplendent with these signs of havoc!

Beholding many headless trunks of great beauty, and many heads without trunks, those fair ones have been lying senseless on the ground for a long while.

Uniting particular heads with particular trunks, those ladies, senseless with grief, are again discovering their mistakes and saying, "This is not this one’s," and are weeping more bitterly!

Others, uniting arms and thighs and feet, cut off with shafts, are giving way to grief and losing their senses repeatedly (at the sight of the restored forms).

Some amongst the Bharata ladies, beholding the bodies of their lords, —bodies that have been mangled by animals and birds and severed of their heads—are not succeeding in recognizing them.

Others, beholding their brothers, sires, sons, and husbands slain by foes, are, O destroyer of Madhu, striking their heads with their own hands.

Miry with flesh and blood, the Earth has become impassable with arms still holding swords in their grasp, and with heads adorned with earrings.

Beholding the field strewn with their brothers and sires, and sons, those faultless ladies, who had never before suffered the least distress, are now plunged into unutterable woe.

Behold, O Janardana, those numerous bevies of Dhritarashtra’s daughters-in-law, resembling successive multitudes of handsome fillies adorned with excellent manes!

What, O Keshava, can be a sadder spectacle for me to behold than that presented by those ladies of fair forms who have assumed such an aspect?

Without doubt, I must have perpetrated great sins in my former lives, since I am beholding, O Keshava, my sons and grandsons and brothers all slain by foes."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It can wait

Sorry I haven't written anything lately. There was a tragic death at school, the funeral was today. I'll write some more about it later.

Just got a comment from Madhumati dasi about pictures. Wanted to point everyone toward some new pictures posted at Chandana festival, too cute! Sometimes I think They look like They've been playing in the mud.

But wait, what about the boat festival! I love the water in this picture.

Death can wait. Thanks Madhumati.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I've been having dinner parties again at my place. I love it. I invite my friends over every week for dinner and kirtan and we have fun. I make a couple of things--last week it was macaroni and cheese, and then some apple crisp--then people bring whatever they want to add to it. We had spinach and strawberry salad, a mixed vegetable salad, apple chutney, coconut chutney, sweet rice, and different juices to drink. Then a sweet little kirtan. But, mostly it's us sitting around the table talking, playing with the babies, seeing what everyone's been doing, how far the basement renovations have gotten, the newest healthy drinks, laughing, crying, and, for me, being thankful to be with such nice people. In our hustle bustle world, it's important to sit with friends and share some time with them. Ours is a personal philosophy in more ways than one.

Next week there's a Kabir Festival at Princeton University. Starts off with a film festival on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it's Prahlad Singh Tipanya, Musical Concert in Folk, Sufi, and Classical Styles. The films are on Tuesday, our regular dinner party night. So, I'm making chocolate cake to go! We think there will be food there, but, if not, I'll make brown bag dinners for anyone who want to meet us. I was surprised that some of my friends didn't know about Kabir. His poetry is so wonderful.

I was recently writing about poetry the other day to a devotee. For me, poetry often captures thoughts and feelings better than explanations. It's a lot like Sanskrit--writing about things that can't be explained, feelings that can't be transmitted, people you can't see, in a language that has multiple meanings. If it transports you, you've found it. If you don't get it, you don't get it. Our words aren't the thing, they're explanations used to capture that thing we're trying to express. Except, of course, words brought to us from Krsna, words that are Him--Radhe Syama!

I can't find my Bijak of Kabir, translated by Linda Hess--must still be in a box somewhere--but here are a couple of his poems I've gleaned from the Internet. These are from Poet Seekers.

My body and my mind...

My body and my mind are in depression because
You are not with me.
How much I love you and want you in my house!
When I hear people describe me as your bride
I look sideways ashamed,
because I know that far inside us we have never met.
Then what is this love of mine?
I don’t really care about food, I don’t really care about sleep,
I am restless indoors and outdoors.
The bride wants her lover as much as a thirsty man wants water.
And how will I find someone who will take a message
to the Guest from me?
How restless Kabir is all the time!
How much he wants to see the Guest!

The Bhakti Path

The bhakti path winds in a delicate way.
On this path there is no asking and no not asking.
The ego simply disappears the moment you touch him.
The joy of looking for him is so immense that you just dive in,
and coast around like a fish in the water.
If anyone needs a head, the lover leaps up to offer his.

Earthen Vessel

Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves, and within it is the Creator:
Within this vessel are the seven oceans and the unnumbered stars.
The touchstone and the jewel-appraiser are within;
and within this vessel the Eternal soundeth, and the spring wells up.
Kabir says: "Listen to me, my Friend! My beloved Lord is within."


O HOW may I ever express that secret word?
O how can I say He is not like this, and He is like that?
If I say that He is within me, the universe is ashamed:
If I say that He is without me, it is falsehood.
He makes the inner and the outer worlds to be indivisibly one;
The conscious and the unconscious, both are His footstools.
He is neither manifest nor hidden, He is neither revealed nor unrevealed:
There are no words to tell that which He is.

Wake Up

Friends wake up
why do you go on sleeping?
The night is over--do you want to lose the day the same way?
Other women who managed to get up early
have already found an elephant or a jewel...
so much was lost already while you slept...
and that was so unnecessary.

The one who loves you understood, but you did not.
You forgot to make a place in your bed next to you.
Instead you spent your life playing.
In your twenties you did not grow
because you did not know who your Lord was.
Wake up! Wake up! There's no one in your bed--
He left you during the long night.

Kabir says: The only woman awake
is the woman who has heard the flute.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Virtual Temples

This is very interesting. Just as I found the 360 degree site, a friend of mine sent me some emails about other "virtual temples." Check these out!

Virtual tour of Arampur
Interesting presentation of village

Beautiful temple, Bolton, UK

Kapaleeshwarar Hindu Temple, Mylapore
But, not inside

Wow--Jaipur, Agra, and lots more!

If you have any others you'd like to add, send me a comment.

Here's a question for you: What's your favorite live darshan site?

Only by Radha's hand. Radhe Radhe!

Monday, March 16, 2009


This is a great website You may have seen it before, but I just ran into it. Amazing! Once you're there, click on the Pano-Ramas tab above for more. So cool! You can get a 360 degree tour of different temples in Vrndavana and Navadvipa. Nice bhajans playing in the background.

I love Spring Break!

Oh, and here's a picture of Sri Shyamasundara in Vrndavana dressed as Siva for SivaRatri. He's Shyam.

Radhe Radhe!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bhakti in Second Life

I've never written about how much I like Second Life. (I really like it.) Second Life is an online, virtual reality community. When I was sick with cancer, it was a really wonderful way to keep my mind busy with challenges and talk with devotees around the world. I'd like to share some pictures of the Second Life (SL) temples with you and some of my realizations about SL. You can click on any of these pictures to see them a little larger.

In SL my name is Dasi Lane. This picture on the right is what I look like there. When I joined, you didn't have too many choices for your name and this seemed like another way to say bhakti marg. Once you're there, you create an "avatar" for yourself to be able to move around and interact with your environment. You can buy clothes and create things for yourself and the world around you.

I've met so many devotees there. People all around the world--England, Spain, Australia, India, and the US. True, we're goofing around, but we're trying to be devotees in this virtual world, too.

When I first started this, I never realized that temples would disappear and so I don't have many pictures of the first temples I saw. Isle of Krishna and Gauranga Bay were some of the first ones. But, Prabhupada's Lotus Room was by far the best. I celebrated Janmastami there last year (see post for September 14, 2008) and gave a class in real time. We even had a kirtan. The Lotus Room has since disappeared due to the change in US currency exchange, but other temples have sprung up.

There's a sweet treehouse temple with Jagannatha and Panca Tattva Deities. One devotee has put together pictures and movies of the Khumba Mela and displays them in a tented bazaar setting.There's another sweet little temple with Jagannatha Deities and beautiful pictures inside of Krishna.

Then there are the larger temples for the "Hindu." Interestingly enough, the Maha Mantra and Srila Prabhupada are also represented there.

Some people have laughed when I tell them that I go to SL. It's not such a "spiritual" practice. Not to justify it, but I think it's just as "spiritual" as what I do here in real life (RL). Hmmm.

In SL I have an avatar to interact with, in RL I have a body which I also use to interact with. The "I" here is me, as spirit/atma. Moving around in SL is with intent, same as in RL. Atma is "doing" things with intent. In SL, one time I transported from one place to another and realized that I hadn't really gone anywhere, I was just seeing something different. Same as in RL. The "virtual" aspect of reality is more apparent in SL than RL. In SL I can jump off buildings and walk in water without any problems. In RL we can do this without any damage to atma, too. Not that I'm going to be jumping off buildings any time soon, but I think you get it.

The illusion of me is just as clear in SL as it is in RL. Is bhakti just as real in SL as in RL? Yes, I think it is. One time in SL, a devotee made a ghee lamp that could be picked up and wrote a script that made the avatar circle the arm as if offering it. She also included a bell for the left hand with a ringing sound. I was so excited, I went to every temple in SL and offered this ghee lamp to every temple. For a while, when I was sick, that was my morning program--to go to all the temples and offer a ghee lamp. It was so exciting. I could even fly above the ground and offer it to everyone and everything below me. Bhakti, SL or RL, so exquisite.